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How To Create Images For Social Media Quickly & With A Consistent Brand Style

You know you need to be consistent on social media but finding the time to create beautiful images that attract your ideal client and are consistent with your brand can seem impossible. You also “lose” images that you’ve created in the past on your computer and have to recreate them which takes up more time. And remembering the hex codes for your brand colors so you can make sure your images are consistent is infuriating. Is is #ABDAD7 or #F7B5C7?!? You can never remember! How To Create Social Media Images Quickly - Jenn Elwell - The InDesign Field Guide

The Secret To Quick & Consistent Social Media Images

I used to create images for my social media profiles in a variety of ways. I would use apps on my phone to create something that would work or I would search my computer for a file that ended with “insta” or “facebook” and modify an existing image. Doing it this way was neither efficient or quick. It never failed that I would have to open up my brand board to remember the color codes for my brand colors or I would spend time searching through the files on my computer looking for an image I remembered creating only to give up and recreate it.

I found the secret to quickly creating social media images with easily recognizable, consistent branding in InDesign. 

Why InDesign?

InDesign has long been used by graphic designers who are working professionally but it can be overwhelming for someone to learn how to use it by themselves. It’s full of tools that can make life easy for designers and business owners alike but figuring out how to use all of those tools can be a challenge.

The beauty of InDesign is that you can set up a project once and keep all of your images in one place. You can add your brand colors to the project and have them on-hand whenever you need to use them in future images. And you can have alternate layouts set up so that you already have your images sized perfectly for all of the different social media channels.

Learning InDesign from an expert allows you to maximize its effectiveness so you can create images… Click To Tweet

How Can You Get Started?

Getting started with InDesign doesn’t have to be overwhelming. After opening up the program the first time and being totally overwhelmed, I took a course, The InDesign Field Guide by my friend, Kelsey Baldwin. Within a few weeks, I was comfortable in InDesign and using it in a variety of ways in my business. Kelsey explains in her course the basics of InDesign and walks you through more advanced topics like master pages and multiple layouts.

The Many Uses Of InDesign

After taking The InDesign Field Guide course I now use InDesign almost daily in my business. I have a blog images project where I create all the images that I need for my blog posts including for promotion of them. I have a social media project with templates for each of the social media platforms where I can create images just for social media easily. I use InDesign to layout and design invitations, advertising materials, and stationery products like business cards and letterhead for my business as well as corporate clients that I work with. And I’ve even put out multiple catalogs and a magazine that I designed in InDesign!

InDesign (along with Creative Cloud libraries to store my brand colors, character styles, and graphics) allows me to create graphics for social media and more quickly and easily. The images that I create have consistent branding to allow them to be easily recognizable as coming from me.

It’s easy to learn InDesign!

Thanks for Kelsey’s course, *The InDesign Field Guide, that is open for enrollment now through October 17th. Her course, of which I am an affiliate, will teach you everything you need to know about InDesign including lessons, design demonstration videos, private discussion forum, Instagram group, as well as lifetime access! I literally could not run my business as efficiently as I do without having taken Kelsey’s course. As a bonus, if you sign up through my affiliate link for The InDesign Field Guide I’ll give you a 45-minute long coaching call free of charge!

If you have questions about The InDesign Field Guide leave a comment here or send me an email and I’ll be happy to tell you more. Believe me, you don’t want to miss this course and how it can change your business. So go purchase it right now!The InDesign Field Guide - Jenn Elwell

Business

3 Tasks You Shouldn’t Outsource As A Mamapreneur

Delegation (via outsourcing or automation) is an important part of being a mamapreneur. While we’d like to do everything by ourselves, we know that it’s impossible. So we outsource and automate the tasks that we don’t like, don’t do well, or take up too much time. While almost anything can be outsourced, there are three types of tasks that you should never outsource as a mamapreneur.

3 Tasks You Shouldn't Outsource As A Mamapreneur Pinterest - Jenn Elwell

Tasks that set the mission and values for your brand

As a small business, you should take control of the direction of your company which is set by your mission and values. Determining what your mission and values are is not something that you can outsource since it will be extremely personal to you and your business. Mamapreneurs are often the face of their company which means that their business mission and values will directly align with their personal mission and values. Because of this, having someone else decide what direction your business will go, what values you will prioritize, and what your mission will be could mean your business is headed in a direction other than the one you desire.

3 Tasks You Shouldn't Outsource As A Mamapreneur - Jenn Elwell

Tasks that you do exceptionally well and bring you joy

Being a mamapreneur is stressful. You’re balancing not only taking care of your family but you’re working hard to grow your business. Because of this, you shouldn’t outsource tasks that you do exceptionally well and that you enjoy. Being directly responsible for the execution or creation of something that you enjoy doing will help you counterbalance the more stressful tasks associated with creating and running your own business.

Tasks for which you don’t have a clear system in place

Starting a new project, developing a product, or beginning to use a new application means that you don’t have a clear system in place for that task. You may spend a few weeks or months trying different methods of execution until you achieve an end result that you are happy with. Until you are clear on the steps a task needs to be accomplished efficiently and accurately, you shouldn’t try to outsource the task. Outsourcing something for which you don’t have a clear system in place could result in unsatisfactory outcomes and frustration as you try to explain what needs to be done to another person or set up an automation for the task.

 

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Business

Growth Mindset and Your Business

Today I’m sharing a post by the talented Abbi Perets. She has wonderful insight on how to change your mindset so that you can succeed in business.

Growth Mindset - Abbi Perets - Jenn Elwell

You’ve got this awesome business idea. You’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks, turning it over and over in your head, but every time you sit down to work on it, you hear this voice:

You can’t do this. You don’t have what it takes. You’re going to fail, and everyone is going to laugh at you.

This voice? Well, this is the voice of a fixed mindset speaking to you, and you’re going to learn how to banish it from your life and do all the things you’ve ever dreamed of doing — without fear of failing.

If you have a fixed mindset, then one of your core beliefs is that people have a set amount of intelligence and ability, and that’s it. Either you’re good at something, or you’re not, and nothing you do will ever make a significant difference.

People with fixed mindsets tend to avoid taking risks for fear of looking foolish or failing. Best not to try, they tell themselves. That way, no one will figure out that I’m not really very talented.

You may have a fixed mindset because of things your parents told you as a child — but not necessarily in the way you think. When you brought home an art project, did your parents declare you a genius? An artist? Amazingly talented? That A+ on the math test prompted everyone to comment on how smart you were, right?

People said, “Wow, you did that so fast! You’re so smart!” or “Whoa, your drawing is AMAZING, you’re such an artist,” or “You’re like a prodigy on the piano!”

But what you heard — what you internalized — was, “If it takes me a long time to learn something, that would mean I’m not so smart.” or “I better only draw pictures of horses, because I won’t look like an artist if I try to draw anything else,” or “I should only play the easy piano pieces, because otherwise, they’ll figure out I’m not that great.”

Your brain linked your intelligence with your results — rather than with your effort. If you got that A+ because you’re smart, what does it mean when you pull a 72 on the next test?

Your brain tells you that you’re not so smart after all.

But it’s more likely that you got a lower grade because you didn’t bother to study. You figured that you were smart, and you didn’t need to study. Unfortunately, when you were 8 or 12 or 18 or even 27, you didn’t know what was going on, so you believed that voice in your head.

So you shoved that test in your backpack and never showed it to anyone — they might find out the truth. They might discover that you weren’t so smart after all.

That fixed mindset voice sticks around, and it stops you from doing anything that might call your intelligence into question. Instead of trying to get into medical school — way too competitive — you set your sights on a liberal arts degree. Instead of aiming for the high-powered executive position, you settle for the cubicle and the work you know you can do.

And when that business idea starts to tickle at your brain, you shove it back down, just like that old math test.

When you believe that your ability is set in stone, that you can’t change anything about yourself, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment. You’ll never try new things because you might not be good at them, so why bother?

Why launch that business? You don’t have the skills. You’ll never get the clients. You don’t have what it takes.

That ends today. That ends right now, because YOU are AMAZING, and you absolutely have the skills to do this. Heck, you are a superhero! You totally have what it takes.

Growth Mindset - Abbi Perets - Jenn Elwell insta

Today, this minute, you start to cultivate a growth mindset. Today, you begin to believe that you can do just about anything if you put in the effort and hard work. You know that your ability isn’t fixed. That you can improve and get better and recover from mistakes, day after day, by showing up and doing the work.

Here is a simple, 3-step process you can use to overcome your fixed mindset and cultivate a growth mindset that will allow you to succeed and live the life you want.

  1. Hear the way you talk to yourself. “I can’t balance the checkbook because I’m lousy at math.”
  2. Change the message. “Balancing the checkbook is hard for me, so I have to put in extra effort to get it right.”
  3. Add a positive message. “I’m putting in the extra effort and I’m improving daily.”

When that voice in your head tells you,  “You can’t do this. You’re not talented enough,” change that message to, “I can do this. I’m working at it every day. I’m putting in the work, and I’m going to be successful.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about your ability to communicate with your teenager (which, in fairness, is pretty much impossible for everyone), your ability to make fluffy white rice (my personal nemesis), or your ability to write a killer sales page. Just SHUT DOWN that fixed mindset voice and stop it from taking control.

Because you are amazing, and the world is waiting for you to share your talent.

Want to learn more about mindset? Download the mindset quiz and worksheets right here!

Abbi Perets is passionate about teaching moms how to have it all. She teaches mothers how to break into freelance writing and land high-paying jobs while they’re at home with kids. As a mom to five kids, including one with special needs, Abbi knows the unique challenges moms face every day, and she works to empower them to pursue their dreams and live a life they love. Learn more at http://www.SuccessfulFreelanceMom.com.

 

Business

How to spend less time in your inbox

Jenn Elwell - Canned Responses - Spend Less Time In Your InboxEmail. We all have a ton of it. And it never quits growing.
Like laundry that multiples, as soon as you get your inbox cleaned out all of a sudden you have new emails requiring a response.

While you can reduce the time suck that email can be by setting up an autoresponder, only checking it periodically throughout the day, and using filtering, eventually those emails will have to be handled. And the majority are likely to require a response from you.

But do most of them require a unique response from you?

Just like there’s nothing new under the sun, unique responses to email are less frequent than responses that can be only slightly modified to apply to the email.

To make responding to those emails that are asking the same thing over and over again, I utilize canned responses in Gmail (and on Etsy!). Here’s how you can implement them in your inbox as well.

Enter your email and name below to receive written instructions for implementing canned responses as well as get my actual snippets that you can swipe for your own business.

Automation, Business

5 Automation Strategies For Mamapreneurs

Automation is a buzzword these days and for good reason. With automation, you can take simple tasks that you do daily, weekly, or monthly, and set them up so that they happen around the clock without your input. As a mamapreneur, I’m sure we can all use the extra time that doing this can save us.

5 Automation Strategies For Mamapreneurs - Jenn Elwell

Getting The Internet To Do Your Work For You

When we set up automation, we are essentially getting the internet and services that have been created for this purpose, to do our work for us. You will n
o longer have to manually open various social media platforms after you publish a blog post to get it publicized on each one. You won’t even have to open something like Buffer to schedule those posts. It will all happen behind the scenes thanks to a one time setup you did to get it all automated.

There are a variety of services out there that can get you set up with automation. The one that I prefer and use the most is called Zapier. And I love it because not only does it have a large number of pre-made automation routines (aka “zaps”) but it also is connected with over 750 apps and its easy to request a new connection if I need it.

Automation gets the internet to do your work for you. Click To Tweet

You can automate just about anything these days if you work hard enough, but there are five things that are essential for mamapreneurs and their busy lives. We don’t want to just work faster, we also want to work smarter. And the best way to do that is to implement automation into your business.

5 Ways To Automate Your Business

Share Your Blog Posts Everywhere At Once
WordPress to Buffer

You spent a lot of time creating a blog post that was meaningful and helpful for your ideal client. So the last thing you want is for that post to never get seen by those you’re wanting to help. But you can’t manually share the post on every platform multiple times to g5 Automation Strategies for Moms In Business - Jenn Elwellet the post the exposure it needs. With Zapier, you can connect WordPress to Buffer to automatically add it to your Buffer queue (or schedule it at a certain time). You can also use a multi-step zap to add your one post too all of your different Buffer queues or to add multiple postings of your post at different intervals to your queue.

Create Tasks Based On Your Emails
Gmail to Asana

I love using Asana to keep track of my ongoing tasks. But creating a new task when I get a new order or client takes time. So I set up a zap to create an Asana task when an email from a particular email address or with a specific phrase comes into my inbox. You can do this with a simple one step zap that simply maps all the data to Asana or you can take it a step further and use the Zapier Parser create a task in Asana with only the information you need. And if you don’t use Asana or Gmail, Zapier also interfaces with apps like Trello, Outlook 365, and more.

Keep Track Of Your Brand On Social Media
Twitter mentions to Google Sheets
Tagged posts on Instagram to Google Sheets6

The number of social media platforms is expanding with, it seems, every day. And there’s no way as mamapreneurs that we can spend time checking our brand out on each platform every day. But when someone does something like retweets your tweet, mentions you in a tweet, or uses a company specific hashtag, you can add the information to a Google Sheets worksheet so you can recognize the action. This worksheet could become a place where you find new warm leads for your business, keep track of who is being an exceptional brand ambassador, and, overall, stay on top of your brand positioning online.

Add Customers To Your Mailing List
Acuity Scheduling to ConvertKit
Paypal to ConvertKit
Paypal to MailChimp

No matter if you’ve been in business 1 day or 10 years, you know that you should have a mailing list and be adding current customers to it. But when you process orders in various ways like through a scheduling service, through your financial accounting system, or in person getting those new customers onto your mailing list can slip through the cracks. With a zap linking however you process orders to your mailing list provider, you can quit even thinking about having to manually add customers to your list and can simply process orders.

Create One Place To Store Curated Content
Liked tweets to Google Sheets
Pocket items to Google Sheets

Staying present on social media can be a daunting task and coming up with content to share can be time consuming. When you create one place to store curated content (like in Google Sheets) you can set up automations to gather all of the content that you’re interested in in one place making it much easier to sort through it and find content to share. For instance, you can set up a zap to add the tweets you like to your spreadsheet so that all you have to do is skim through Twitter liking tweets that interest you to store that content. You can also save content from Pocket to your Google Sheet or from other areas throughout the web.

With these five automation strategies in place you’ll find yourself with more time to work on the parts of your business that you enjoy and that make you money. In addition to these five areas, I’m putting together a Zapier resource just for my clients. If you have a question about automation in general or Zapier in particular, send me an email and I’ll make sure to cover it in this new resource that will be available in late July. You can get first access when the resource is available by signing up for my mailing list below.

Business

How To Take A Real Vacation From Your Business

I spent time recently taking a complete break from my business. I handled one time sensitive task over email but had done all of my work for the task ahead of time so that all I had to do was forward an email to my printer. I spent my time hanging out with my family and enjoying being with them. I read a lot of books (I think 5!). And I slept late since I wasn’t trying to fit work in when the kids were asleep.

It was amazing.

Family Vacation - Jenn Elwell

When I got back I did have some work that required my immediate attention but taking an actual, 100% break from the business meant that I was refreshed and excited about getting back to my tasks and wasn’t still worn out like I was before I left. I found myself working much faster yesterday than I have been lately just because I had more energy.

I want to encourage you to take some time this summer to step away from your business too. Whether it’s simply totally disconnecting for the weekend or for a week or two while you go on vacation, try to take time to rest and take your mind off of the constant pressures that you face when you run your own business.

To help you disconnect I’ve got three tips that will help you step away if you simply do a little planning.

Take A Real Vacation From Your Business - Jenn Elwell

Prepare your clients

Your clients should want you to be your best self which requires taking a step back from your business every once in a while. As long as you fulfill your responsibilities to them they should only be happy for you (and if they aren’t, maybe you should find new clients!). But you don’t need to just announce that you’re leaving for a seven day vacation tomorrow and expect them to be happy about it. Bring it up in a client meeting a few weeks before you leave and explain how you will fulfill your commitments either before you leave or when you return to keep their project on track. If you don’t have ongoing clients but work on a quicker turnaround, post an image to your social media accounts, update your status in your Etsy shop (or put it in vacation mode or extend your turnaround times), and send an email to your list to manage their expectations. You don’t have to tell them that you’re leaving your house unless you want to (there are privacy concerns, of course) but simply announce that you’re taking some time to recharge and will be back at work on a certain date ready to put some exciting new plans in place!

Plan your email strategy

We probably all have our work email on our phone which can be a blessing and a curse. Before you leave plan your email strategy. Take advantage of the tools that most email servers have like auto-filtering and archiving messages. If you set it up to put the emails that you know you’ll need to deal with first when you get back in one folder and put everything else in another then you’ll know where your sorting needs to occur first when you get back. This will not only allow you to not be overwhelmed with your inbox when you get back, but always keep it under control! You can also leverage tools like vacation mode or an autoresponder to let anyone who emails you know that you’re currently out of the office but will reply by a certain date. This will take care of managing expectations for any new clients that email you while you’re gone.

Find a solution for anything that can’t be deferred until you get back

Take a look at everything that you have going on for your business and figure out a way to handle anything that can’t be delayed until you return from your time off. This might mean setting up automation systems or hiring someone to outsource those tasks to while you’re gone. There are a variety of ways that you can handle these types of tasks without having to do them yourself manually. (If you need some help setting these types of things up I currently have an offer that does just that for only $99.) And, in reality, unless your company is really large there should only be a few things that absolutely can’t be put on the back burner until you return from vacation.

I know that I feel like a new woman after taking a solid week to myself and my family. I love my business but working on it every day takes a lot of energy and dedication and it was nice to let those things go while I was gone and just focus on enjoying time with my family.

If you have any questions about how to implement the things that I’ve discussed in this email or want to chat more, please feel free to email me. I love talking with moms in business and would love to talk with you. And, as a bonus, you’ll get back my autoresponder that’s always on for my inbox and you’re welcome to swipe the copy and make it work for you!